Never ending Improvement

A certain swordsman in his declining years said the following: In one’s life, there are levels in the pursuit of study. In the lowest level, a person studies but nothing comes of it, and he feels that both he and others are unskillful. At this point he is worthless. In the middle level he is still useless but is aware of his own insufficiencies and can also see the insufficiencies of others. In a higher level he has pride concerning his own ability, rejoices in praise from others, and laments the lack of ability in his fellows. This man has worth. In the highest level a man has the look of knowing nothing .

These are the levels in general;. But there is one transcending level, and this is the most excellent of all. This person is aware of the endlessness of entering deeply into a certain Way arid never thinks of himself as having finished. He truly knows his own insufficiencies and never in his whole life thinks that he has succeeded. He has no thoughts of pride but with self-abasement knows the Way to the end. It is said that Master Yagyu once remarked, “I do not know the way to defeat others, but the way to defeat myself. ”

Throughout your life advance daily, becoming more skillful than yesterday, more skillful than today. This is never-ending.

Taken from “The Hagakure”

What an absolutely fantastic piece written hundreds of years ago!


If you have ever met or trained with me you know right away that I am a firm believer in the principle of C.A.N.I.


= Constant

= And

= Never Ending

= Improvement


Each day I ask my son, “What new thing did you learn today?” He often has to think about what “new” thing he might of picked up in school, or even as he trains with me, or reads in a new book etc. But he almost always has something, no matter how small, to tell me he has learned. In ninjutsu , Soke Hatsumi has been heard to say “train with a child-like innocence.”  This passion that everything can and will teach you something with the eyes of child, so each day ask yourself the same question that I ask my son (as well as myself)

What new thing have you learned today?

Bufu Ikkan

Sensei Lefebvre

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